Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal – the fastest growing in the world – raises concerns on many grounds. Although far from the scale of the Cold War, South Asia is experiencing a strategic arms race. And the more weapons there are, the more potential for theft, sabotage and nuclear terrorism. Worries that Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons technology might again be transferred to nuclear aspirants have not been expunged. Being outside the nuclear club makes it harder to ensure nuclear safety. Of gravest concern is the potential for a nuclear war, triggered by another large-scale terrorist attack in India with Pakistani state fingerprints, as in the 2008 Mumbai atrocity, this time followed by an Indian Army reprisal.
In his latest Adelphi book, Mark Fitzpatrick evaluates each of the potential nuclear dangers, giving credit where credit is due. He argues that to reduce nuclear dangers, Pakistan should be offered a formula for nuclear legitimacy, tied to its adoption of policies associated with global nuclear norms.
Mark Fitzpatrick is Director of the IISS Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme. He is the author of The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding worst-case outcomes (2008) and the editor of IISS Strategic Dossiers on countries of proliferation concern and nuclear programmes in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
This meeting was chaired by Dr Nicholas Redman, Editor of Adelphi books. It took place in the Lee Kuan Yew Conference Room at Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX.